IBM launches virtualization assault on EMC

New product broadens storage options for EMC users

IBM on Friday took aim at its primary competitor, EMC, by announcing storage virtualization software that allows EMC users to utilize storage systems from EMC, Hitachi, or IBM.

IBM's Virtualization Engine Suite for Storage aims to simplify storage infrastructures by adding a virtualization layer that integrates the entire storage technology infrastructure to automate, reduce costs, and provide additional control. By virtualizing resources, clients can manage and mask the complexity inherent in a technology infrastructure, according to IBM officials. .

 The software allows customers of EMC's fast-selling mid-range Clariion line to switch to IBM if they want, according to IBM officials. For decades most data storage equipment has only been able to share data with other equipment from the same vendor. That often results in wasted storage capacity, according to analysts.

Storage virtualization software allows customers to move massive pools of data back and forth between different storage equipment devices, allowing network administrators to make the most of resources and cutting the cost of buying new hardware. Now, with software designed to free up EMC customers, IBM believes it finally has the means to recapture market share from EMC.

"IBM's Virtualization Engine Suite for Storage truly disrupts the storage industry by freeing technology and purchasing managers to leverage a multivendor disk hardware strategy without suffering the traditional management costs associated with heterogeneous storage," said Jens Tiedemann, general manager of IBM TotalStorage Open Software.

EMC is hardly standing still. It has shown its own version of storage virtualization which it plans to ship in the second quarter of next year. EMC's product is a storage router developed with Cisco and McData that will perform similar functions.

IBM's latest release of the TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller, which includes the Virtualization Engine Suite for Storage, is available now for a list price of $60,000.

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